Since summer brings the best boating days, it just makes sense to spend as much time on the water as possible while saving as much money on boat fuel as possible. You can take full advantage of boating season without draining your wallet. Just check out these simple ways you can save big on boat fuel this summer.
1. Service your engine regularly according to the instructions in your owner’s manual. At a minimum, your engine should be serviced and tuned up once year. It will run better, and you’ll get better gas mileage.
2. Get your bottom cleaned. If you keep your boat in a wet slip, remember to clean the bottom on a regular basis to avoid aquatic plant and dirt build-up. Bottom debris will cause extra drag while you’re running which, in turn, will cause you to burn more fuel. A fresh coat of antifouling paint on your boat hull can also help prevent aquatic plant and dirt build-up.
3. Eliminate excess weight. Take extra items out of your boat that you don’t need. Do you have extra chairs, canned goods, books, water toys, sporting equipment, or anything else aboard that you won’t use? If you can eliminate excess weight, you’ll save money on fuel.
4. Make sure that your trim tabs are working properly. Your trim tabs prevent plowing and reduce drag, which will allow you to run on plane at a lower RPM. When your trim tabs are operating efficiently, your boat can move through the water smoothly, run quieter, and conserve more fuel.
5. Have your prop checked. A damaged prop can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10%. Prop shops have specialized equipment that can assess how far out of specification your prop might be and repair any issues. They can also tell you if it might make sense for you to use a prop of a different diameter or pitch for better efficiency.
6. Plan out your day on the water. If you consider the tides, currents and wind, you can save money by avoiding challenging conditions. Pay close attention to tide charts and weather forecasts when planning your route. This way, you’ll be able to take the safest route while also helping you determine which conditions will be more conducive to fuel efficiency.
7. When fishing, use your trolling motor instead of idling your engine. Running your engine at idle speed can burn a lot of extra fuel and reduce the life of your engine. Switch to an electric trolling motor if possible, which uses zero fuel.